American Idol's Magic Cyclops Proves Social Media Makes Brand Hijacking Easy

by Eric Melin on January 30, 2012

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Last week on American Idol, a man with long hair, black sunglasses, and a bandana sporting the word “Magic” played air guitar and sang two songs for Jennifer Lopez, Steven Tyler, and Randy Jackson at the Aspen auditions for the show. After much amusement, the judges walked out on Magic Cyclops, who responded by shooting confetti from a cannon strapped to his ass.

The next day on the Internet, a star was born. So to speak. Unlike William Hung, Magic Cyclops (real name Scott Fuller) wasn’t actually deluded enough to think that he’d have a chance at the show. He just wanted to make an impression. (He claims to be from Davenport, Iowa, but speaks with a British accent, after all.) The Magic Cyclops persona is one that has been carefully honed working in and around Colorado as a DJ, musical act, and during years of competition on the US Air Guitar circuit.

So why are two morning show DJs in the Quad Cities of Iowa trying to take credit for Magic Cyclops?

According to the Total Tech blog, B-100 DJs Bryan Scott and Tony Tone are friends with Fuller: “they met him five years ago and devised this plan to get him on American Idol and perform this character.” (UPDATE: They have since corrected the mistake.)

Have the DJs co-opted the Magic Cyclops brand and made him out to be a morning-radio show prank? They sure have. On Thursday morning they posted the following status to their All Hits B100 Facebook page:

“Americas been punked…by us…we finally got our friend Scott Fuller aka “Magic Cyclops” to give D-port a shout last night on American Idol…nice work!!!!! we owe you!”

Magic Cyclops has all kinds of merchandise. Witness the Magic Cyclops Paper Doll.

At the end of the Total Tech article, which praises the station for using social media to capitalize on the publicity, author Jason Howell says, “Kudos to Brian and Tony, I don’t know if it was simply for the fun of it or for the publicity…or even a combination. Either way, good job guys.”

Then the story gets picked up by The Quad City Times:

“The radio hosts and the comic had stayed in touch through the years, and when they heard he was going to be on “Idol,” Scott said, “We just bet him, ‘Say our name, we’ve got half a grand for you if it’s on network TV.'”

Fuller’s response on his personal Facebook page: “zero percent of this is true” and “i never heard of these guys.” On the Magic Cyclops Facebook fan page: “Tell these D’bags to stop taking credit for my A.I. appearance. I don’t know these jerks at all…” The Cyclops is now threatening legal action against the station.

Cyclops supporters tried posting on the station’s pages, but the comments from angry fans were deleted. Then, this morning, all mentions of either article disappeared from the morning show Facebook page and Facebook group. What’s weird is that the group still has the Magic Cyclops-Idol t-shirt design as their image!

The strategy from B-100 now seems to be “delete and run.” It’s one of backpedaling to pretend like they never took credit for him in the first place. This is a horrible social media strategy. It’s always best to own up to a mistake, issue an apology, and move on. The web is littered with stories of social media Facebook PR nightmares. I’m sure that in the short-term (because radio and social media can help spread false info fast), this helped the station get some publicity and more notoriety as being crazy morning-show dudes. But was it worth it?

At least they responded to me. I emailed the show about the controversy and got this response, signed by no one in particular:

Scott is great, this is great marketing for him, (and all about staying in character), as for him “not knowing us”, keeps his 15 minutes hot and will ultimately continue to make him (and his persona) even bigger, thats the goal! We, love the attention Davenport, has gotten too, despite some heat we’ve taken for loving the Davenport props from a few citizens that are pretty irate that “Magic Cyclops” is showin the love! Lets keep Magic alive!!

The wording the station now uses is very careful, even though they are still talking about Magic Cyclops. This is from the front page of the B-100 website:

Obviously B-100 is still happy to associate its morning show with Magic Cyclops for as long as people are still talking about him.

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